Banksy’s ‘Game Changer’ painting sells for a record $ 23 million

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

A painting by artist Banksy honoring UK healthcare workers has set a new record for the artist, selling for £ 16.7 million ($ 23.1 million) at Christie’s in London.

“Game Changer,” which the enigmatic street artist donated to Southampton University Hospital (UHS) in May 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic, shows a young child playing with a Red Cross toy nurse wearing a cape. and a mask. In a nearby basket, the Batman and Spiderman figures lay forgotten.

The work sold for more than four times its high estimate of £ 3.5 million ($ 4.8 million) and nearly doubled Banksy’s previous record, the 2009 oil-on-canvas “Decentralized Parliament” of British politicians as chimpanzees. in the House of Commons, which sold for £ 9.9 million ($ 13.6 million) at Sotheby’s in 2019.

The proceeds from the auction price will be donated to Southampton University Hospital, as well as healthcare organizations and charities across the country, according to the auction house.

Banksy’s ‘Game Changer’ Credit: From Christie’s

Until now, “Game Changer” had only been seen on display at the hospital (now a replay will replace it). When Banksy donated the work, he included a note that said, “Thank you for all that you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s just black and white.”

At the time, UHS Executive Director Paula Head called it “an inspiring backdrop to pause and reflect on these unprecedented times,” in a cheep.

Christie’s has described the work as a catch “The simple and universal values ​​that have come to the fore during the pandemic: family, home, and time with loved ones.” Painting is a heartfelt moment for an artist who often plays on his sardonic appeal. In 2018, Banksy made headlines when his iconic work, “Girl With Balloon,” self-destroyed just after selling for $ 1.4 million at Sotheby’s (the composition of spray paint on canvas, which had been half-shredded in its frame , was later renamed “Love is in the Bin”).

“Game Changer” was not Banksy’s only pandemic work. Three months after the donation, Banksy left mask-patterned rats around the London Underground, which were immediately removed for violating Transport for London’s “strict anti-graffiti policy.” Then, in December, he left a mural of a woman sneezing violently on the side of a home in Totterdown. Although Banksy has yet to reveal his identity, many of his early works in and around Bristol, including the playful “Aachoo !!”, have led to speculation that he is from the area.


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